We have all had that feeling. The feeling of defeat, the feeling that your body can no longer take the punishment, your nerves are telling you it is time to quit. Whether you are running a marathon, on the crux of a 5.11 pitch, or several miles into a brutal hike, we have all felt like giving up. Sometimes we do give in to what our body is telling us. However many of us have found something deep inside ourselves that keeps you moving. My high school wrestling coach would call that mental toughness. Or your ability to tell your body through your mind that you can push yourself farther than your body believes to be possible.

Physical toughness is paramount in the mountains it will carry you to the summit and it will help keep you safe. Mental toughness will also help you to the summit but it serves a more important purpose. Mental toughness helps you survive in the mountains when everything has gone wrong.

When things go wrong in the mountains they really go wrong.

Mt Alander during a February Noreaster

Mt Alander during a February Noreaster

Mental toughness allows you to push on with a heavy pack in pounding winds with sub zero temperatures, even though your back and legs are telling you to sit down because you know if you sit down you will die. Your body can be in pain but it does not understand that rest means death. Your mind however, your conscience knows that rest is lethal. It is here that we truly see mental toughness come in to play.

So what do I mean when I say the will to climb? The will to climb is the ability when you are alone to say to yourself “ I can keep going, I will not stop, I will not rest, I am going to keep going.” In a life or death situation the majority of people who are still in control of their faculties can summon the courage to continue, or in other words the will to climb. The world’s greatest athletes can summon the will to climb or develop a high level of mental toughness in all of their endeavors.

We all can develop a high level of mental toughness it just takes the ability to embrace the suck. I love that term it describes my view towards life. When conditions blatantly suck you can either stay miserable or you can embrace it and conquer the hell you are in.

Mt Washington In A Cloud

Mt Washington In A Cloud

If you can do this, if you embrace the suck you will enjoy more of what life has to offer and maybe when things go wrong, you will walk away in one piece. So my message is very simple. Attack life it is going to kill you anyways. So embrace the suck and learn to rule your body through your mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s